I hesitated to share this because of the brute honesty of the subject. However, I wish I had been able to read something like this when I was eighteen; so that is why I bare my thoughts and soul to you. It is hard for single women because we face so many unknowns, and although I strongly disapprove of feminism, I do believe that single women should be wise about their future. I write this not to encourage solo independence or to make us feel as if we do not need or want marriage, but to make us stop and think about our plans and choices. We do not have a husband to provide for us, and our parents may very well be nearing the age where we can no longer rely upon them but they rely upon us. There’s a lot of harsh judgments passed about single women that say it is our fault in some way or another that we are single, but sometimes God just has different plans and timing for certain individuals. May you be encouraged by this article. Don’t forget- I’d love to hear your thoughts on it!
How Does A Single Woman Plan Her Future?
“God, the joke’s over now, haha, very funny. I mean, being single is great and all, but You do have a husband for me- right?”
So you are nearing your thirties, and quite possibly is this is how your prayers sound. Reality is starting to hit that you really are single and by the looks of things, your relationship status will probably not be changing anytime in the near future. The job that helped get you through college at 18 was fine for a while, but it has lost its appeal and holds no incentive. Surely, you figured that by now marriage would have taken care of the future for you because a husband would have been responsible for the main income and provision…but there is no husband.
So, as singles, we’re left with three choices. Choice One- Drop all our standards and grab the first guy we meet on the street (which isn’t recommended due to the probable outcome). Choice Two- Complain about our situation and sit at home near our phone, door, computer, or wherever we think a guy may approach from to ask for our hand in marriage. Or, Choice Three- Realize that if God is amazing enough to create a universe full of dancing galaxies, He is plenty capable of bringing someone in His own time but for now He has called us to singlehood for a special purpose. I’ll admit, Choice Three really hit me hard when I knew I needed to break off a dating relationship last year, knowing fully that I probably wouldn’t be getting asked again very soon. I mean, if it took twenty-five years for one guy to come along, another twenty-five years would put me at fifty. That can be a little disheartening, and that’s a lot of life during which I have to make decisions and support myself. Of course, I could get married next year, but then again, God may never have marriage in His plans for my life. Once I am at peace with that, I can then move on and handle life and the future.
So what can we, single women, do to help take care of our future?
- Face the facts. It may startle you to realize that singlehood is wearing your name, but brute honesty is the best wake-up call. I know some young ladies who are still living in denial of the fact that they are single and very well may continue that way for a while. Thus, they really have no dreams, goals, or plans and simply exist from day to day.
- Don’t let singlehood scare you. I’ve heard many 16-18 year old girls talk about singlehood like it was a dreaded disease. I like to think of it as an adventure, and I do dearly love adventures. Instead of it being me, a husband, and God on this journey, right now it is just God and I. That may seem a little daunting at first, especially when I can get lost in stores, have zero map-reading abilities, hate spiders, have a fear of elevators, start talking to myself when I get lonely, and get nervous when calling in a pizza for delivery. But I try not to focus on what seems like limitations during this journey of singlehood, I focus on the blessings God has in store for me- things like a deepening faith, trust, and love because I only have Him to rely upon. As Corrie ten Boom once said, “If God sends us on stony paths, He provides strong shoes.”
- Find a career, path, mission opportunity, or avenue you would enjoy pursuing for the next thirty-forty years. Make sure it will be something you love and enjoy (but something that pays well too!). Yes, I know, I didn’t make a very profitable choice when I pursued writing and teaching elementary music, but it truly is my love. So find something that motivates you to get up in the morning. Check into the job’s benefits and insurance/ retirement plans. For a single woman, these are an excellent boost in her provisions. If special education is needed, get started right away before you lose more time. Find grants and scholarships that will help with costs. Perhaps God has laid a certain dream or calling on your heart; start pursuing that. If going into missions, draw out a plan for means to cover expenses while you are away and then also a plan for means of provision if and when you decide to return.
- Be okay with changes to a nicely-arranged future. God may decide to open some doors and shut others. Ask Him to lead your life, and then keep your plans held out to Him with an open hand.
- Find a nest. At some point and time, you will probably feel a desire to create your own home and move your glass dishes out of Mom and Dad’s attic to use and display in your own space. Don’t be scared to start looking at buying a home or renting an apartment. Costs will vary, depending on your area, but a single woman doesn’t need a huge space. The usual rule is- the smaller the place, the more affordable it is. Try to find something close to the places that you commute to the most (work, church, parents, college….). Finding responsible young ladies to rent a room or two in your house will also help cover costs. If your parents need assistance or you don’t want to move right now, keep living with them; but be sure to pay “rent” and don’t be afraid to carve out your own spot. When buying a home, keep in mind that there will be costs which may include property taxes and insurance; repairs and maintenance; utilities that could include sewer, water, heating, and electricity; lawn care; and pest control. Regardless of whether you rent or own a home, there will be appliances and basics you need for daily living. Those who get married are blessed with wedding gifts, but we will have to budget and supply our own “homey items” unless the apartment is already furnished. Decide what is absolutely necessary to buy now and then get the convenience appliances later when your budget is prepared for it. Some appliances to keep in mind are a washing machine and dryer (unless you decide to go to a laundromat), stove, refrigerator, microwave, coffee pot, blender, mixer, iron, vacuum cleaner…. Go ahead and write down any others you think of. Take into consideration the common things we take for granted but often use like linens, towels, silverware, plates…. Furniture is not an emergency category, but it’s still nice to have a bedroom set, table with chairs, sofas, and storage cabinets once the budget allows (shopping at thrift stores and community aids is a great way to pick up cheap but nice items. Don’t be afraid to mix and match and do your own design. A little bit of paint, stain, and Pinterest ideas can turn a seemingly drab piece into a show item.).
- Budget! Set room in your budget for food and groceries; vehicle and health insurance; fuel; vehicle repairs and licensing; home mortgage or apartment rent; vehicle loan (if your car is not paid off); health money to be used for dentist, prescription medications, doctor, orthodontist, and chiropractor costs that may not be covered by insurance; clothing and personal essentials; phone and internet; pet food, care, and vet bills; gifts; home items; home costs; and tithe. I also keep some set aside for travel money since that is dear to my heart. Some of the above may or may not apply, and there may be things that you need to add in, but get it down on paper or find a good app and start budgeting. However, no matter who you are, keep a nice amount of room in your budget for savings which can be used in cases of emergencies and then applied to retirement.
- Surround yourself with mentors. Keep people around who can give you advice and wisdom with decisions, plans, and finances. Their older wisdom can be a true beacon of light as you navigate the overwhelming waters of independent adulthood.
- Involve yourself in others. When singles are only focused on themselves, they become bitter and selfish. Help out at kids’ clubs, go on short mission projects, babysit your best friend’s children so she and her husband can have a date night, visit retirement homes and do activities with the residents, or volunteer at a hospital. The opportunities are endless. I don’t have a husband and children right now like my heart desires, but I do have family all around me in the hundreds of students and young ladies I teach and direct. Make every day and every situation your mission field. Savings is definitely not a bad thing, but it really has no value once life here is over. The investments that truly matter will be the ones we made in others.
Like- what if an interested guy sees I have a career and home and thinks I’m not interested in marriage? Excellent point. Your attitude and demeanor will be the biggest benefit or hindrance to your independence. I have two very opposite single girlfriends. They both are working women who have to provide for themselves but handle themselves and situations a lot differently. Let me explain….Susy allows men to assist her in decision-making and tough tasks, while Jessica tackles it solo. Susy stays gentle and doesn’t dominate every conversation and group decision, while Jessica is the first to call the crowd to action and conclusion. Susy has time for teaching VBS, helping at the local soup kitchen, and babysitting the nieces and nephews, while Jessica is too busy creating her career and future to have any time for Kingdom Work and loving others. Susy still up-builds the men around her and realizes that there are gentlemen in this world yet, while Jessica harbors bitterness at seemingly being rejected by the male gender and treats all men with disdain. Jessica is determined to show the world that she can do it on her own and does not need help, while Susy is simply living fully where God has placed her. See the difference? Some guys may still be intimidated by a woman’s attempts to provide for herself, but a true man will appreciate that she is not simply wasting time waiting around but is putting energy and heart into making the best of her life and blooming where God has planted her.
By going into full-time mission work, will I have eliminated any possibility of marriage? No! God can bring the man He has for you to the planet Jupiter if that is where you are at. He is not limited by what we think are hindrances, especially when He is working with men and women whose hearts are fully focused upon Him. Plus, a Christian man will know that by being involved in missions, you have developed patience, sacrificial love, flexibility, hard work, responsibility, and teamwork, which is exactly what a wife needs to make marriage a success.
Does owning a home and being financially independent make me bad “wife material”? Having a good job or owning a home doesn’t disqualify us for marriage; in fact, it actually improves us. Just like the Proverbs 31 woman, we can bring something profitable into marriage and have a savings account instead of only a shoe collection. Remember that marriage and raising a family is quite costly!
Isn’t it pointless to go through college and build a career if I will be getting married and having kids eventually? A lot of women have used their career experiences to bring in extra money while still being a stay-at-home mom. Some moms have done that by using the teaching degree to tutor students over the summer, utilizing the photography experience by setting up a photo studio in the shed behind the house for photo sessions, applying the craft-store job experience to a personal Etsy shop, or putting to use the secretary skills by doing a company’s paperwork from a home computer. As a writer and music teacher, I can continue writing and giving private music lessons if I would ever get married and have children. With creativity and a little flexibility, most careers can be still beneficial to a stay-at-home mom. Even if the career experience isn’t used during marriage, it will have benefited in other ways by teaching us responsibility, hard work, dedication, loyalty, and commitment…all things that we want to pass on to our children!
It is important to look ahead with the honest understanding that God may not bring marriage into our lives for a while. But don’t let all the costs and decisions frighten and alarm you about the future. And definitely, don’t let it sidetrack you from the real reason you were put on earth- to glorify the King. God is our Guide, Provider, and Bridegroom, and He wants the very best for each one of His lovely brides.
Blessings my dear single ladies as you truly live the journey! (Isaiah 30:21)
Miss MarJanita L. G.